Now, at the end of 2021’s National Volunteer Week, I would like to take the time to recognize and thank the many volunteers throughout the library system who, every day, work alongside the library staff to support our purpose of connecting people to opportunities that enrich their lives.  
There are also those who volunteer with the Friends of the Library groups.  The Friends of the Adams County Library, The Friends of the Littlestown Library, The Friends of the New Oxford Area Library and the newly formed Friends of the Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin are all volunteer groups that are serving to benefit the libraries in their communities.  These volunteer organizations help the library grow and thrive thanks to their generous gifts of time and resources.
Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, but there are also many benefits for those who give their time.  
Volunteering connects you to others.  In this time when our lives have been disrupted and many things that we used to enjoy in person have moved virtually, volunteering connects you to others.  Volunteering is a shared activity which can help you strengthen existing relationships and make new ones.  It strengthens you ties to your community, which then broadens your support network.
Volunteering benefits your mind and body.  Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with people, which can help protect against depression.  Helping others can have an effect of your overall wellbeing.  Studies done have shown that being helpful to others delivers pleasure.  We’re hard-wired to give to others – the more you give, the happier you feel.  It also provides a sense of purpose, which can help take your mind off your own worries and keep you mentally stimulated.  It can also help keep you physically healthy – you tend to walk more when you’re volunteering.
If you’re job hunting, or new to the job market, volunteering can help you get experience in your areas of interest and meet people in the field.  It can help you build upon skills you already have, or develop new ones.
Volunteering can be fun. Volunteering with an organization whose mission fits your interests can be relaxing or energizing.  It can give you a break from your day-to-day routine which can help to stimulate your creativity. 
So “Thank You” to the many volunteers of the library system.  Whether they are volunteering behind the scenes in our technical services department processing materials, serving on the One Book committee, recording virtual story times for the ACLS YouTube Channel, or are back in the library shelving returns, our volunteers are key members of our team.

Submitted by Sara Edmiston, Public Services Librarian